Roundup of the September 8 Township Meeting

Last night’s township meeting meeting was… odd.

Three strange things happened, one entirely predictable.  I’m presenting them, not in chronological order.

First, during the manager’s report part of the meeting, Ryan and Rattigan came out and publicly announced their campaign strategy.  The budget workshop meetings will be moved up from October to September; the first one will be next Wednesday evening, I believe.  They want to have a budget finalized and approved by the end of October or early November (certainly before election day, though they didn’t say so!)

And Mary Ryan solemnly charged Stephanie Teoli, the township manager, with making sure the proposed budget would reflect a tax cut.  We know this was rehearsed ahead of time, because the logical question from the township manager would be “how much of a tax cut do you want to see?”  But that question wasn’t asked.  Amateurs!

Ryan said that she and Rattigan had “done some homework”, and believed that a tax cut was feasible.  Huh, why didn’t anyone mention that before?  Like maybe the endorsed Republicans running against Rattigan/Ryan/KC-will she-won’t she?

Oh wait, they’ve been saying that since the 3 mil increase was proposed, the increase that had Ryan and Rattigan on board.

With a budget in deficit since 2007, let’s see how those numbers play.  Budgets vs. actuals have been ludicrous for so long, what kind of expectation could we have that this year will it will make sense?  What can be cut for 2012 that survived the 2010 “scalpel”? Will the budget be conveniently reconfigured so that even if one has all of the documents from prior years, they won’t help when trying to follow the proposed 2012 budget?  In the past no one said things like “if we’ve been spending $15,000 a year on printing, why do we keep budgeting $20,000?”  This year, look for unexpected line item drops.  Challenge and look for justification!  Should be fun!

Second, there was a report about emergency response during and after Irene.  This was given by Robert Kay Sr., the emergency management coordinator.  During his report he dropped something of a bombshell by saying that someone, apparently a female, sent out an email to township residents advising them to call her if they experienced a problem due to Irene.  Mr. Kay said this was a ‘mass email’, and he indicated that it was political.

What made him say it was political?  And why didn’t I get an email?  I didn’t, and neither did anyone I know.  How “mass” was it?  More info on this is needed.  If you’re going to get up and say this stuff in public, be prepared to back it up!

Third, during the early part of the meeting, Bud Baldwin kept staring out into the audience, asking if Dave Christian had gotten there yet.  What??? Why would Dave be there?  Would he be announcing his daughter’s candidacy?  Every time Bud ascertained that no, Dave C. wasn’t there, he would reluctantly move on to the next agenda item, making sure that everyone knew he was just doing that until Dave got there.

It was so weird.  Dave C. wasn’t on the agenda.  Bud kept stopping and looking for him so often it became like an obvious “Waiting for Godot” joke.

And when Christian finally did show up, he came in 4 or 5 other men, whose purpose was uncertain, sat right up front, and Bud didn’t seem to notice.  Hmmm.

So Dave went to the microphone and began to talk about September 11.  He talked for some minutes.  He talked about neighbors, and specifically his neighbor who’d lost her son.  I really can’t recall much about what he said, because there didn’t seem to be a coherent point in there.  It was rambling, and hard to follow.  Dave Christian is not a good public speaker.

It’s difficult, because who wants to be critical when someone is talking about 9/11 and the loss of loved ones?  But I’m certain that I’m not the only one who was puzzled.  When Dave C. finished he shook hands with the supervisors and left (with his coterie), and there was dead silence.  No applause at all, as would be expected if people were stirred or moved or anything.  Just silent.

So that was that.  The supervisors, contrary to the last meeting, were pretty well behaved.  I wish I had made my private prediction public before: that from now until election day Ryan and Rattigan will keep pretty quiet unless they can say something positive.  We can make it a drinking game!  If you want to stay sober, take a drink for every negative thing Ryan or Rattigan says.  Otherwise, do the reverse.

Good times.

One last thing: did anyone else feel gypped that there was no “right to know” report last night?  I was waiting for pie charts, with colors, naming names.  Boo!

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